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Jury awards widow $435K verdict in medical malpractice case

A federal jury in Greenbelt returned a $435,000 verdict to the family of a man who died after his doctor failed to properly investigate signs of an intracranial hemorrhage.

Mansour Eid, a Lebanese-American lawyer who worked in Lebanon, but who regularly saw a doctor in Maryland on visits to his family in McLean, Va., complained of chronic headaches to his doctor before the traumatic brain injury put him in a vegetative state and eventually led to his death.

The jury in U.S. District Court awarded Eid’s widow, Charlotte A. Eid, $175,962 for past medical care, $10,000 for funeral expenses and $250,000 for non-economic damages after a trial in April.

Eid was seeing Dr. G. Peter Pushkas in Bethesda for management of his excessive blood clotting condition, for which he took 10 mg a day of the blood-thinning drug Coumadin.

About 2½ months before his last visit with Pushkas on Aug. 25, 2006, he saw a doctor while in Lebanon who raised the dose of his Coumadin to 15 mg a day after a test showed he was at risk for forming a blood clot.

“Our contention was that 50 percent increase shouldn’t have been done and the doctor here should have known that,” said Edward “Lee” Norwind, the attorney representing Charlotte Eid.

When Eid complained to Pushkas of headaches dating to when his Coumadin intake increased, the doctor called for a regular testing of his clotting factor, known as INR. An ideal level is between 2.0 and 3.0, according to court documents filed by Norwind, a name attorney with Karp, Frosh, Lapidus, Wigodsky & Norwind PA in Rockville.

Pushkas also referred Eid to a neurologist on a non-urgent basis that day, which was a Friday.

Two days later, Eid awoke with “the worst headache of his life,” according to court documents. On the way to the hospital in an ambulance, Eid lost consciousness, which he never regained.

A CT scan revealed Eid had a subdural hematoma, a traumatic brain injury, with an acute hematoma, which had started Sunday morning.

When Pushkas reviewed the blood test results on Monday, he found that Eid’s INR had reached 4.8, in the range for heightened risk of hemorrhage, but not high enough for a lab to alert the doctor on a weekend, according to court documents filed by Pushkas’ attorney, James M. Heffler.

Eid remained in a vegetative state until his death on Oct. 7, 2006.

Heffler, of the Chevy Chase firm Heffler, Uhl & Taylor, did not respond to several requests for comment. The judgment, which was entered in late January, was satisfied Feb. 3.

Norwind argued that Pushkas should have ordered a same-day blood test and taken Eid off of Coumadin or lowered his dose until his blood clotting levels normalized. Norwind said that would have helped avoid Eid’s acute hematoma.

The defense argued that Eid’s medical situation was complicated because the overseas doctor had increased his Coumadin dosage and Pushkas had inherited the situation, but Eid’s attorney disagreed.

“Our experts say ‘No, it really isn’t that complicated,’” Norwind said. “There were basic tests that were required. They were required right away.”